Smith's Grain Store (Former)

9 Tyne Street, OAMARU

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Smith’s Grain Store (Former) located in Oamaru’s historic Harbour/Tyne precinct was described on its opening in March 1882 as more of a ‘temple of art than a grain store.’ It is an outstanding example of the ornate Victorian architecture for which Oamaru is renowned. James Johnston designed the two storey grain store in Italianate style and it was built by stonemasons Messrs Hamilton and Co. The Store could hold 30,000 sacks of grain. Little is known about the first owner Joseph Smith. He advertised himself as a ‘cash buyer of wheat, oats & other farm produce’, and also dealt with matters concerning shipping and general commission business. He seems to have occupied the grain store until around the end of the 1880s. Grain and seed merchant Charles Cooke occupied the lower floor in the 1890s and early 1900s. In 1906 the building was taken over by the Oamaru Mail, which was to occupy the store until 1970, after which it was used as a joinery workshop. In 1992 the building was purchased by the Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust and restored. Smith’s Grain Store is constructed of Oamaru stone. The exterior is elaborately decorated with rusticated pilasters between round-headed windows on the ground floor, with plain pilasters with Corinthian capitals on the first floor, and much floral relief and decorative moulding on the façade to Tyne Street. The building is rectangular in plan, with a plain façade to Harbour Street. The plain Harbour Street elevation has a large central opening on each floor and several window openings. Smith’s Grain Store (Former) has architectural significance; its ornate Victorian Italianate design is an outstanding example of commercial architecture from this period, and unusual for a grain store. It is an elegant building and is a special element in the unbroken sequence of Victorian facades on Tyne Street. The building is historically important as a grain store, symbolising the importance of North Otago as a grain producing region. The Grain Store is a key part of the nationally significant Harbour/Tyne Street Historic Area (Register Number 7064). In 2013 the upper floor is used as a gallery space, with the lower floor being used for a variety of retail purposes.

Smith's Grain Store (Former), 9 Tyne St, Oamaru | North Otago Museum | North Otago Museum
Smith's Grain Store (Former), 9 Tyne St, Oamaru. Third building from the left. Image courtesy of | J Witkowski | 01/05/2002 | J Witkowski
Smith's Grain Store (Former). Oamaru. Image courtesy of | PhilBee NZ - Phil Braithwaite | 13/11/2016 | Phil Braithwaite



List Entry Information


Detailed List Entry



List Entry Status

Historic Place Category 1


Private/No Public Access

List Number


Date Entered

7th July 1987

Date of Effect

7th July 1987

City/District Council

Waitaki District


Otago Region

Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Lots 22-23 DP 88 (RTs OT18C/647; 9680), Otago Land District and the building known as Smith's Grain Store (Former) thereon, and its fittings and fixtures.

Legal description

Lots 22-23 DP 88 (RTs OT18C/647, 9680), Otago Land District.

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